paper trail

Fernando del Paso wins the Cervantes Prize

George Saunders

Mexican author Fernando del Paso, who has described himself as “a baroque writer, extravagant and immoderate,” has won the coveted $135,000 Cervantes Prize.

The New York Times magazine asked George Saunders and Jennifer Egan to discuss writing about the future, which they did, by phone and email. Here's Egan: “I learned you have to move fast, writing futuristic satire in America: Before you know it, you’re a realist!” And Saunders: “There are some parallels between writing about the future and writing about the past. Neither interests me at all, if the intention is just to ‘get it right.’ It’s nearly impossible to recreate a past mind-set, and also, why bother? That mind-set already existed, if you see what I mean. The goal of a work of fiction is, in my view, to say something, about how life is for us, not at any particular historical moment (past or present or future) but at every single moment.”

A previously unpublished Edith Wharton story from toward the end of World War I has been found.

The New York Times has extended the application deadline for its David Carr Fellowship (which will support a journalist for two years on the Times’s media desk) until December 1st.

In an interview, Johari Osayi Idusuyi, the woman who wouldn’t stop reading her book at a Donald Trump rally, explains how she came to be in such a visible spot in the first place: “I think we were chosen for obvious reasons. We are minorities and there weren’t a lot of minorities there.” Feeling put off by the behavior of the Donald and his supporters, she began reading to pass the time, and then thought: “I’m in the middle, I’m on camera, so why not use the opportunity to promote a great book?” She’d considered bringing Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist with her, but it seems for the best that instead Claudia Rankine’s Citizen got yet another boost.

New York magazine’s book critic Christian Lorentzen (who delved into Trump lit for a forthcoming issue of Bookforum), ||reviews the first lines of several new books|. Vladimir Nabokov and Mary Gaitskill (who’s also, incidentally, featured in the next Bookforum) both come off well; Rick Moody and Patrick Modiano, less so.